January 19, 2010

Two Households

I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 11:16 pm

Crazy story from rehearsal:
Today we had a morning matinee of Romeo and Juliet, and then began rehearsal for the second of our three shows — a development process of a new adaptation of Alice in Wonderland that will culminate essentially in a series of staged readings around the country.

After doing a read-through of the first draft, we began with some physical exploration. One of the exercises required the cast to be broken into three groups. The usual way this is achieved in such exercises is that everybody counts off numbers from 1 to 3, in a circle based on wherever they are in the room at the time the director decides to do so — creating more-or-less random groups.

When everyone had counted their numbers, and moved into a corner with their respective groups, we were amazed to discover that they were divided into the Capulets and the Montagues, with the third group being the neutral characters (Friar Laurence, the Nurse, the Prince, etc.). There was only one person out of the 13 who was out of place.

Like last year when we began rehearsing our second show, it was really fun to hear everyone that we have grown to know so well take on new roles. It’s especially refreshing because this show is very different in style than Shakespeare, and even for the actors that I did two shows with last year, I’ve never heard them perform contemporary language, so I’m experiencing part of their talents that I’ve never been able to see before. After a very early, very long day, many of the actors remarked on how good it felt to get to exercise different acting muscles.


I call this: On the Road Again,theatre — Posted by KP @ 12:54 pm

What happens on headset stays on headset.

Unless it’s really funny and not insulting to anyone.

In our show there’s a scene where Romeo and the Nurse are talking for a while and Perrin (our combined Capulet servant character) is hanging out on the staircase for the whole scene. Today I noticed she was eating something, or appearing to at least, so I asked Nick and our local prop person, Sara, what she was eating. Neither of them knew — apparently it’s a personal prop that was added just before we opened.

Nick suggested, “maybe she’s schmacting” — i.e. only pretending to be eating.

To which Steph (our light board op) says, “Well if she’s pretending to eat, wouldn’t that be ‘snackting?'”

Not bad at all for a 10:30AM show.

Incidentally, I hear the term “back acting” a lot (in the context of when it’s OK to turn upstage in a scene), but never hear it called “backting.” If nobody has beaten me to it, I hereby coin the term.

Teaching the Database to Speak

I call this: tech — Posted by KP @ 2:40 am

I have to tell you what I learned tonight. I must caution you, there is some geek-speak below, in as plain terms as possible.

I was watching a screencast from Filemaker, about the fun new things you can do in Filemaker Pro 10. This isn’t really news to me, as I’ve been using v. 10 for months, and the last version I owned before that was v. 7. But this particular screencast began by talking about the ontimer script feature. That’s not something I’ve really worked with much, except that I have a Filemaker clock that I found online, and basically tinkered with just enough to add it to my database, without exactly understanding how all of it works.

This screencast explained it (it’s actually really simple, it just executes a specified script every however-many seconds), and suddenly I figured out how to do something that I knew was theoretically possible, but thought was outside my programming knowledge: to get the performance report to remind me to make calls based on what time it is.

The report already has an “intermission calculator” where I can enter how long I want the intermission to be, and based on the end time of Act I, it displays what time I need to call 5 and places (assuming it takes 3 minutes from calling places to actually being able to start). It does the math for me, but it doesn’t help to remind me in any way, I still have to keep watching the clock.

Well using the ontimer script, which I have running every 10 seconds when the performance report is loaded, it records the current time as a variable, and then goes down the list of possible calls (30 minutes, 15 minutes, 6 minutes, and 2 minutes before the scheduled start time, as well as the “call 5 at” and “call places at” times from the intermission calculator), comparing the current time to those times.

I added a series of fields to each report that corresponds to each call that needs to be made — by default the value is 0 (the call has not been made). The script looks through each of the possible calls whose value is 0, and then looks to see if the current time is greater than or equal to the time one of the calls is due. If so, it says — out loud — the call (i.e. “Half hour please”) and then displays a pop-up window saying “Call half hour now!” Once this window is dismissed, the call field changes from 0 to 1, and from that point on, the script no longer worries about that call.

It’s absolutely hysterical. But most of all, it’s going to be very handy. From here pretty much anything is possible. Now I’ve got it to send me a text message when it makes a call, so even if I’m not in the booth I’ll get the call wherever I am (except for the places calls, where I should already be in the booth). At the end of the script it checks to see if all the calls are marked as “1” and if so, it ends the timer script.

I can’t wait to start using this tomorrow!

I’m so excited I made a movie demonstrating how it works. I suggest watching it at Youtube where it’s in higher resolution.